R/V Western Flyer was designed and constructed for MBARI to serve as the support vessel for ROV Doc Ricketts. Her missions include the Monterey Bay as well as extended cruises to Hawaii, Gulf of California and the Pacific Northwest.
ROV Doc Ricketts is capable of diving to 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles). The Western Flyer is the support vessel for Doc Ricketts and was designed with a center well whose floor can be opened to allow Doc Ricketts to be launched from within the ship into the water below.
The MBARI mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission to map the seafloor autonomously. The sonars are a swath multibeam sonar, two sidescan sonars, and a sub-bottom profiler.
Oxygen consumption (a measure of biological activity) of the organisms living in the sediment is measured using a benthic respirometer system (BRS). This instrument is used in situ (in place on the seafloor).
Detritus samplers are these clear plastic cylinders to collect fragile organisms such as jellyfish. These cylinders are attached to a mechanical arm that swings out from the body of a remotely operated vehicle.
Research programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) encompass the entire ocean, from the surface waters to the deep seafloor, and from the coastal zone to the open sea. The need to understand the ocean in all its complexity and variability drives MBARI's research and development efforts.